Monday, April 26, 2010
the craftiness of being art.
The Arts and Crafts Movement was an international design movement that originated in Britain and flourished between 1880 and 1910. It was instigated by the artist and writer William Morris (1834–1896) in the 1860s and was inspired by the writings of John Ruskin (1819–1900). It influenced architecture, domestic design and the decorative arts, using simple forms and a medieval style of decoration. It advocated truth to materials, traditional craftsmanship and economic reform.
The Arts and Crafts Movement started as a search for authentic design and decoration and a reaction against the styles that had developed out of machine-production.
Arts and Crafts objects were simple in form, without superfluous decoration, often showing the way they were put together. They followed the idea of "truth to material", preserving and emphasizing the qualities of the materials used. They often had patterns inspired by British flora and fauna and drew on the vernacular, or domestic, traditions of the British countryside. Several designer-makers set up workshops in rural areas and revived old techniques. They were influenced by the Gothic Revival (1830–1880) and were interested in all things medieval, using bold forms and strong colors based on medieval designs. They believed in the moral purpose of art. Truth to material, structure and function had also been advocated by A.W.N. Pugin (1812–1852), a leading exponent of the Gothic Revival.
The Arts and Crafts style was in part a reaction against the style of many of the things shown in the Great Exhibition of 1851, which were ornate, artificial and ignored the qualities of the materials used. The art historian Nikolaus Pevsner has said that exhibits in the Great Exhibition showed "ignorance of that basic need in creating patterns, the integrity of the surface" and "vulgarity in detail". Design reform began with the organisers of the Exhibition itself, Henry Cole (1808–1882), Owen Jones (1809–1874), Matthew Digby Wyatt (1820–1877) and Richard Redgrave (1804–1888). Jones, for example, declared that "Ornament ... must be secondary to the thing decorated", that there must be "fitness in the ornament to the thing ornamented", and that wallpapers and carpets must have no patterns "suggestive of anything but a level or plain". These ideas were taken up by William Morris. Where a fabric or wallpaper in the Great Exhibition might be decorated in a natural motif made to look as real as possible, a William Morris wallpaper, like the Artichoke design illustrated above, would use a flat and simplified natural motif. In order to express the beauty inherent in craft, some products were deliberately left slightly unfinished, resulting in a certain rustic and robust effect.
By the end of the nineteenth century, Arts and Crafts ideals had affected the design and manufacture of all the decorative arts in Britain.
as copied from wikipedia.